Provincetown & Risotto Poppers

Provincetown is one of my favorite stroll-around, artsy, shopping and eating towns.

You need to drive all the way to the very tip of Cape Cod to get there but it’s worth the drive (and once you get on Rt 6 East, your GPS lady will be quiet all the way to downtown PTown).  We spent a leisurely day of wandering and shopping (wonderful art and jewelry stores).  I’m not sure what might be going into this shop, but I would love to have a shop just like this:

We finally ended up on the deck at Pepe’s at around 4:00.  Not really hungry for a big dinner but needing to replenish the fluids & salt that I lost due to the heat, we finished the afternoon sipping salted margarita’s and appetizers.  When it’s hot you have to be very careful to not let your electrolytes get out of whack.

Pepe’s risotto balls were stuffed with Fontina cheese and drizzled with Italian truffle oil.

Absolutely wonderful but I decided to try my version using a triple cream (there I go again with the triple cream) Brie.  You can also see my crab cake appetizer which I haven’t tried making myself since finding some at Wegman’s that I’d have a hard time trying to beat.  As you can see I hardly touched the liquid part of my margarita because I needed that salt.  I’m pretty sure that was margarita #1, maybe not but let’s say it was.

In any case, I found a great recipe from Giada for the balls which I combined with my basic risotto recipe (see below for basic risotto which I also use for the lobster risotto) to came up with an appetizer that could easily be a meal – add salad to balance things out.  Start with a batch of basic risotto.  This may all seem like a lot of work, but my friend & neighbor Judy (who leaves dead dog/logs on my lawn) said that she almost made some risotto poppers the other day with leftover risotto.  So the poppers could be a great way to use up leftover risotto if you don’t feel like doing it all at once:


2     Cups chicken broth
3     TBL butter
½    Cup finely chopped onion
2-3  Garlic cloves, minced
¾    Cup Arborio rice
½    Cup vermouth or white wine
½    Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Tarragon-sprinkled over the top,  about 1-2 teaspoons

– In medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer.
– In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat (just a tick over medium is best).  Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in garlic for just a minute, this cooks quickly so do not let it burn.  Add 1 more TBL of butter, melt, then stir in the rice to coat it.  Add the vermouth/wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add a ladle & 1/2 of simmering broth and stir. After about 2-5 minutes the broth should be almost completely absorbed.  Continue cooking rice by adding the broth a ladle at a time, stirring, and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20-30 minutes total.  If you think the rice isn’t quite cooked, then add in more vermouth or cooking wine… that never seems to hurt.

Risotto Poppers

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Risotto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces triple creme Brie, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
  • Salt


Pour about 3″ of oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.  You want the oil to be hot enough so the balls don’t soak up the oil & get soggy.

Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 1/2″ balls.  Insert 1 cube of Brie into the center of each ball then roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turn as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

*  Giada uses mozzarella which I will try next time.  PePe’s used Fontina so I think playing with your favorite cheese or making up a variety of batches would be great.

25 thoughts on “Provincetown & Risotto Poppers

  1. Oh yum, Diane. Now, instead of making balls, could you make them patty style and that way avoid the deep frying? PTown is one of my favorite spots on the Cape.. they characters come out for sure after 8pm. and the art…the art.. so cool. I’ll leave food on your lawn or on your front door step next time, instead of the log. Deal?


    • I see no reason why patty cakes wouldn’t work too, but I’d still fry them up to get that crispy outside & the melted cheese on the inside. Ooooh, let’s think of all the extra things we could put inside that patty – all kinds of veggies & how about nuts?
      Wouldn’t you love to have that little store w/the flower boxes for an art studio there? How awesome would that be? If you left food on my doorstep, I wouldn’t complain. I mean with the girls leaving soon, you’re still used to cooking for 4 so ….


  2. I am SO afraid of risotto….totally not joking. Actually, I’m afraid of making risotto, not necessarily eating it. I’ve watched too many episodes of Hell’s Kitchen where the risotto has the been the center of a failed dinner service and has resulted in the chef wannabes being called things like “lazy sods” (and much worse, of course!) You’re so brave, Diane!


    • No way!!! You have got to try this. Just start out with the basic risotto recipe. Make sure you get those onions caramlized & nice and sweet. Then all you have to remember is a ladle & 1/2 of broth at a time…let the liquid get sucked up, then another ladel & 1/2. I used to think this was a tough one to make & now, I make it at least once a week – all different variations. Get on over here right now – Judy & I will stand on either side of you while we all do it together.


  3. Oh yes.. fill them with goodness. the problem is they are called “poppers” and I think I would POP too many of them. Love the store, I want one. AND.. great photos by the way. Now I”ll have 2 college food packages to make, shall I add you too?


    • Isnt’ that store great? It was empty except for these ladders & paint cans in the windows so I don’t know if someone’s going in there or not but… it has 2 sides so you could take one side, I’d take the other.
      Well as long as you’re making up 2 food packages… you think I’d complain?


  4. You are such a wise traveler to know that intake of margaritas for the salt is such a medicinal use…..LOL! We had arancini (fried rice balls) as an appetizer last week with friends, and they were SO good. Always forget about those little bundles of cheesy goodness whenever we make risotto….will have to remember to make enough for leftovers! Love the little shop, too.


    • I just knew you’d appreciate the necessity of getting salt! Our waiter was terrific too, just let us relax, kept the food & beverages coming at the right pace. And what a riot he was – wanted to come shopping with us after. I would so love to have a little shop just like that one in the picture.


    • It’s actually Arborio rice but I use it a lot instead of pasta. A lot of people think that it’s hard to make because you do have to stir it as you add each ladle of broth until it’s absorbed but I don’t think it’s hard to make. Now that I’ve got the hang of it I make it a lot & love it because once you make the base you can add just about anything to it – peas are most common, but I rarely put peas in. Instead you can add just about any vegetable, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus… I really love lobster in there but again, you can add almost anything. The melted cheese just makes it so creamy. You should give it a try, be creative because I know you stay away from meats.


      • Sounds delicious – you are listing all my favorite pizza toppings 😉 and grrrr. with no meat – just had a vegetarian pho – so “blah”…. would do anything for a nice pork shoulder right now…


      • Now stop doing that to yourself. Think of all the tasty vegetarian things – like these poppers! You’ve got the rice – get a really really good favorite cheese. Then make a nice dipping sauce. Although I have to admit a nice pork shoulder sounds pretty good to me too – I wouldn’t refuse it.


  5. Hi Diane – I’m blogging today about food blogs/bloggers that I enjoy – so far I’ve chosen you and John – “From the Bartolini Kitchens”. I’m including this post’s excellent recipe for Risottto Poppers – along with the link and my recommendation that my followers start following you as well ! I’m hoping you approve.


    • Why Cecile, what a wonderful honor – thank you. I’m so happy that you enjoy the blog. I too love John’s blog – he has some very awesome family recipes that are so easy to make but delicious.


      • You are so very welcome Diane! (Sometimes I think I should’ve gone into marketing!!) All your recipes and photos are excellent – and I love any type of “popper” – so why not “share it with the masses” !! ; o )


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